If this is your first time at PAX East -- or really, your first time in Boston -- you might be a little bit overwhelmed by this fair city I call home. But don't be! Boston is one of the nicest, cleanest cities in the United States (no, seriously). It's also one of the safest. If you're spending every waking hour at the convention hall, you're seriously missing out.
First of all, if you're heading to PAX East, you need to get your priorities set. Priority #1: See The WoW Insider Show Live Podcast at the Wyvern Theater, 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Priority #2: Who the hell cares about anything else? Seriously. The most important thing ever is the WoW Insider Show Live. If you miss it, you will not be able to forgive yourself.
And yes, before you ask, Mat McCurley, Alex Ziebart, Mike Sacco, and I will be doing a meetup on Saturday. If you want the details for that, you should follow WoW Insider on Twitter for the live updates.
Getting around Boston
If you've been to Boston before, you probably know that it's one of the nation's worst cities in terms of parking. We just don't have any of it. And what little parking we have is exorbitantly expensive. If you don't have to drive, don't. It's an incredibly mass-transit-friendly city, provided you don't stay out too late after midnight.
If you're staying in Boston, the easiest and cheapest way to get to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center is by the MBTA. Rides on the Boston subway cost $2 one way. Or, if you're going to spend the weekend doing some sightseeing, you can purchase a seven-day unlimited pass for $15. (Compare that to parking at PAX, which will set you back $12 per day.)
Whether you're going to PAX or the airport, the bus-based Silver Line will be your best friend. You can board the Silver Line at the airport to connect to rest of the MBTA subway system at South Station. The Silver Line (SL1, SL2, SL3) also goes by the Convention & Exhibition Center (World Trade Center stop).
Transfers between the Red Line and Silver Line are free, as are transfers between any other subway line. Just be sure to get a pass from an automated machine before you get on a bus.
And if you have an iPhone, you may want to check out the OpenMBTA app. Google Maps also does a pretty decent job with handling mass transit schedules. Otherwise, maybe this map will help:
PAX East is damn cool, but after you've spent an eight-hour day there, you might start pining for something else do to. There's not much around the convention center itself. But if you're willing to put in 10 or 15 minutes on the subway, Boston has a lot to offer. Here are some Fox Van Allen-approved options for passing the time.
South Station Hey, listen -- food at the convention center stinks. And it's super expensive. If it's a nice day out, take the short walk down Summer Street to South Station to grab your lunch. It's mostly mall food court fare (McDonalds, Au Bon Pain, Master Wok, etc.), but there's way more variety than you'll find at the convention center.
Newbury Street If you've got the Fox Van Allen flair for fashion (or if your girlfriend does), you may want to take a walk down Newbury Street. It's Boston's shopping destination, with a lot of recognizable (if expensive) stores: Urban Outfitters, Diesel, Anthropologie, True Religion, Burberry, Juicy Couture, and AllSaints Spitalfields. There are plenty of second-hand stores of all different stripes, too. There's no shortage of places to eat on Newbury Street. If you're on a budget, I suggest a few of our local chains: Boloco for burritos, Berryline for frozen yogurt, and b.good for a pretty awesome burger and sweet potato fries.
Harvard Square If you want to escape the city for a little bit, I recommend checking out Harvard Square in Cambridge. It's super easy to get to -- just take the Red Line to the Harvard stop. If you're a fan of tea, I recommend a stop at Tealuxe for a cuppa. Crema Cafe is a great place for a casual lunch, and Wagamama is great for a relatively inexpensive (if often crowded) dinner. And if you're a fan of chocolate, you should definitely check out L.A. Burdick's for one of the best hot chocolates you'll ever drink. There are plenty of fancy restaurants there too, including one dedicated entirely to dessert, Finale.
Culture If you're a fan of modern art, you should definitely try to check out the ICA, Boston's modern art museum. Admission is free on Thursday nights (5 to 9 p.m.). And best of all, it's right near the convention center. You might also want to check out the Museum of Science (take the Green Line to the Science stop) or Museum of Fine Arts (Green Line "E" Museum of Fine Arts stop or Orange Line Ruggles stop).
And that's only the beginning of what the city has to offer. Visit Modern Pastry in the North End for an amazing cannolli. Stop by Faneuil Hall (Quincy Market) for some shopping, history, and street entertainment. Take a walk through Boston Common, and marvel at our inexplicable statue honoring ether in the Boston Public Garden. Stare at the entrance to the bar Cheers like a dope.
But whatever you do, don't miss that WoW Insider Show Live! Podcast.